National elections: police identify 49 stations as high-risk in Western Cape

Published May 24, 2024


While no threats currently exist at any polling stations, police have identified 49 high-risk stations across the province while 475 have been declared as medium risk.

The Western Cape has 1572 polling stations.

On Thursday the Provincial Joint Operations Structure, which includes SANDF members, various SAPS units, metro police with LEAP officers and traffic services, displayed its state of readiness for the upcoming national elections on May 29.

SAPS provincial commissioner, Lieutenant General Thembisile Patekile, said a number of factors influenced the classifying of areas according to their risk which includes political intolerance, protests, violent crimes and service delivery issues.

Patekile said the SAPS and all its collaborative directorates will be out in numbers with boots on the ground from Monday until the end of the election.

“Surely we did not plan to fail, we plan to execute...we have had monthly plannings, collating information and redistributing resources that we had doing threat risk assessment and contingency plans, threat identifications and mitigation of those threats.

“We have been given the thumbs-up to say that the plans are ready to be executed by NatJoints (National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure).

“With 1572 polling stations in the province, 49 are deemed high risk and 475 of those are medium while the remainder are low-risk stations.

“When we talk of those that are high-risk stations, we have deployed a maximum amount of members that are set for that...we will be out there in full force to ensure everybody is protected,” said Patekile. Regarding safety at polling stations, Patekile revealed that suspects have already appeared in court after a recent burglary incident in Caledon at an IEC office.

“Among other cases, there has been (arrests) of five people in Caledon for breaking in at the IEC offices where a scanner was stolen but has been recovered.

“Those people have already appeared in court,” said Patekile.

IEC provincial electoral officer, Michael Hendrickse, said the incident at the Caledon offices occurred before improved security, in anticipation of the elections, was deployed.

“It was a typical break-in at our local office before we heightened our security, before any of our materials had arrived.

These persons broke into our office, but within 12 hours were arrested by SAPS. One voting management device was taken which has also been recovered.

“We have now stacked up our security at our offices and with the assistance of SAPS, all our materials are being guarded and... they are there to assist us with escorting and ensuring that all our materials will arrive safely at our voting stations.”

Cape Times